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TODAY'S NEWS

today’s news for Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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At Edfinancial, getting your students to the finish line is what matters most. Whether it’s answering questions about enrollment, explaining financial aid processes or preventing student loan default, we can help your students succeed. Find out how we do it by visiting us at www.edfinancial.com/HES/Casestudies

NEWS FROM NASFAA

In a memorandum circulated among the leaders of executive departments and agencies shortly after President Donald Trump's inauguration, Reince Priebus – Trump's chief of staff – announced there will be a freeze on all pending federal regulations, which could impact some of the Obama administration’s final education regulations.

Funded by a grant from Lumina Foundation, NASFAA will continue its effort to assist students whose college or career school closed while they were enrolled, or shortly after they withdrew. The Assisting Displaced Students Working Group will be tasked with responding to financial aid-related questions submitted by students via the online ticketing portal. Working group members will provide NASFAA staff liaisons with ongoing feedback from student tickets for additional counseling areas needed or questions to be shared with the Office of Federal Student Aid. Review the working group charter for more details, and, if interested, complete the volunteer form by COB today.

We recently asked how you listen to "Off The Cuff," NASFAA's new podcast. The majority of the 122 respondents—59.8 percent—said they listen on their desktop or laptop computer, while 14.8 percent said they listen on iTunes. Just over 10 percent said they listen to the podcast on another podcast app, and only 3.3 percent replied "other." If you'd like to take more polls, head to our Poll the Pros page.

If you are the primary contact at your institution, you should have received an invitation by email yesterday to vote online in the NASFAA elections. Once you select your candidates online, you will receive an email from NASFAA confirming your selections. Your vote will not be counted until you confirm via the email. Read each candidate’s resume and statement of candidacy. The elections will close January 25 at 3:00 pm ET; those elected will take office in July 2017. Thanks to everyone who nominated candidates or agreed to run for NASFAA office. 

AskRegs

Learn the answer to this question and learn how to instantly find credible and reliable solutions to your most pressing regulatory and compliance questions with NASFAA's AskRegs Knowledgebase. The Knowledgebase guide and video tutorials highlight the many features of this tool.

NASFAA U

The NASFAA U Consumer Information Online Course focuses on institutional disclosure and reporting, when and how reports and disclosures are to be made, as well as best practices for compliance with regulations. This course is an excellent learning experience for new aid administrators and a great refresher for experienced staff. With four weeks left and limited remaining seats - Register before it’s too late.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

On January 28-29, 2017, the Department plans to execute extended website maintenance and operating system upgrades to many Federal Student Aid websites and systems. This work is in addition to the regular weekly maintenance that occurs each weekend.

This announcement informs Health Education Assistance Loan (HEAL) Program lenders and lender servicers of new HEAL Program interest rates.

HEADLINES

National News

"Fact: 42 million Americans owe roughly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. ... But the average student owes $31,000 after college – even more if they attend graduate school. That’s a big burden, though some borrowers recently have gotten student loans discharged in bankruptcy court," according to Good Call. "But according to the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, some students with private student loans recently have been able to capitalize on the vagueness of such bankruptcy terms as 'undue burden' and 'extreme hardship.'"

"For all of their unanswered questions about Betsy DeVos, President Trump's nominee for secretary of education, members of the Senate at least know where a lot of people stand on her," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"President Trump told a top Democratic senator Friday that he did not want to 'hurt' young immigrants who have been living illegally in the U.S. since childhood but are otherwise law-abiding," the Los Angeles Times reports.

"... State and federal lawsuits filed this week accused Navient, the largest collector of student loan payments in the nation, of the kind of sloppiness and misleading tactics that emerged in the mortgage market in the years after the financial crisis," according to The New York Times.

Opinions

"Last Tuesday, the Senate held a hearing for Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education. Senator Free-College (Bernie Sanders) didn't miss his chance to advance his signature cause. Surprise, surprise. But what is surprising is that national Democrats have clearly adopted the cause, as evidenced by recent proposals by both New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo for tuition-free public college in their states," Red Jahncke, president of Townsend Group International, writes in an opinion piece for The Day.

"Hours from now, the American people will be forced to say goodbye to the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama. To some, Obama was a role model, an icon and a model president. To others, he was un-American, a poor leader and even a socialist. But no matter what you thought, the facts don't lie: They show that he was an extremely effective president for the economy, for social inclusion and for improving the lives of many more Americans than you think," Richard A. Fowler, the host of the nationally syndicated radio program "The Richard Fowler Show," writes in an opinion piece for The Hill.

"As long as I can remember, savants in personal finance had one iron-clad guideline about debt: Know the difference between 'good' debt and 'bad' debt. ... But the worst debt of all is probably college loans, particularly if they don’t lead to a degree or gainful employment," John Wasik writes in an opinion piece for CBS MoneyWatch.

"U.S. colleges are failing—the fancy-pants institutions along with the rest. They nearly all have fundamental problems, and they have had them so long that these institutions seem destined to collapse as students demand value for their money and society demands colleges that work," David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale University, writes in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal.

Blogs & Think Tanks

"College costs more now than ever, and that's even after adjusting costs to account for inflation. ... Given college's soaring cost, it may not surprise you that 20% of college graduates wish they'd forgone their pricey school for a cheaper one, according to a recent survey by Claris Finance," The Motley Fool reports.

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